Skin rash

 Suffering from skin rash, reasons and remedies

All throughout our entire dermatology residency at AIIMS, saying the word “skin rash” was considered a sin and yet here I am describing the reasons and remedies for “skin rashes”. But before my professors at AIIMS get disappointed, here is my disclaimer that I am only using this term for better understanding for the general public.

To a naïve person, a skin rash means something red. To a dermatologist, a skin rash could be red, scaly, greasy, itchy or exudative. We can establish a consensus that skin rash is the result of alteration in skin texture or skin color usually as a by-product of inflammation.

What are the reasons for skin rash?

Since there is only a vague definition of what a skin rash is, almost anything that is red can be termed as a skin rash. With this description in mind, almost any dermatological disorder can be termed as a skin rash. However, I am clubbing the common rashes together for you to get an idea. This list of “skin rashes” is not inclusive of all diseases. If in doubt, it’s best to consult a board certified dermatologist in Delhi for the same.

  • Infective skin rashes

Infection is one of the common causes of a skin rash. Sudden onset, unilateral distribution usually indicates an infective origin.

  • Bacterial infection like impetigo or cellulitis is common. Impetigo is usually seen in children. Cellulitis presents as swelling and inflammation of the extremities usually. They respond really well to short course of antibiotics as staphylococcus is usually the organism involved.
  • Viral skin rash is quite common, especially amongst children. Any child with fever and skin rash, a viral exanthem should be ruled out. These can range from roseola, rubella, measles or chickenpox virus exanthem. Your dermatologist would be the best skin care expert to identify the exact type of viral exanthem and suggest treatments accordingly. Most of the viral exanthem starts as an outbreak in school so early judicious diagnosis and treatment is of utmost importance.
  • Fungal infections like candida, ringworm can also present as rash. Mostly seen in summers and monsoon season, It is important never to self medicate with OTC products as most of them have steroid in combination that can worsen the fungal infection.
  • Eczematous skin rashes

Eczema is a common man term for dermatitis. Dermatitis “literally” means inflammation of the skin. As a group of disorders, eczema presents as itchy, oozy, scaly and red plaques which can be present anywhere on the body. Broadly speaking, these disorders are either internal(or endogenous) or due to external factors(or exogenous). The common ones are:

  • Atopic dermatitis: These eczematous plaques present in childhood or later in life and can involve flexor aspect of the skin during childhood and teenage years and extensors during toddler and elderly age group. Usually associated with “atopic symptoms” like dust or pollen allergy, asthmatic episodes, wool intolerance or hyperlinear palms, they are usually long lasting and require round the clock management by a dermatologist.
  • Seborrheic dermatitis

The common “dandruff” of the scalp is the most mild type of seborrheic dermatitis. Well formed seborrheic dermatitis plaques are yellow and greasy. Usual sites of predilection  are scalp, eyebrows, midline of the chest, and behind the ears. Malassezia fungus which is a normal resident flora is implicated in the cause of this eczema. Antifungal shampoos and oral antifungals can give temporary relief of the symptoms.

  • Allergic contact Dermatitis

Contact Dermatitis is any form of eczema that occurs due to an external stimulus. It could be leather, rubber, Nickel, glue,etc. Please consult a dermatologist for the same.

  • Irritant contact dermatitis

Often I come across patients who have applied any home remedy that has irritated their skin like lemon or have applied Dettol on an open wound. Such harsh caustic chemicals can irritate the skin causing irritant contact dermatitis. Usually, it is a severe presentation with blisters, pain and extreme itching. Consult a dermatologist in Delhi for the same.

  • Autoimmune

Autoimmune disorders are a group of disorders in which our body’s immunity has turned against us. Immune system is our first line of defence against allergens, microbes and pathogens. They are supposed to protect us from harmful external factors. Sometimes, these agents turn rogue and start damaging different cells of the body. Such groups of disorders are known as autoimmune disorders.

Autoimmune skin conditions that present as a skin rash include psoriasis, dermatomyositis, SLE, lichen planus etc. Each of these rashes are so distinctive that it is often difficult to miss the diagnosis. While psoriasis presents as silvery scales, dermatomyositis has hyperpigmentation mixed with telangiectasias. These poikilodermatous changes alongside other signs of myopathy are diagnostic of this disease. Similarly for lichen planus, the 5 P’s are classic of the skin rash: pruritic, polygonal, planar, purple papules and plaques.

  • Environmental

Sunburn is an acute form of photosensitivity that is seen as a skin rash on the exposed areas of the body. Usually, there is an extreme degree of sun exposure or the patient is on a certain photosensitizing drug. The treatment includes a short course of oral steroids with soothing and calming lotions to relieve the acute pain and swelling. Often seen amongst whites after beach holidays.

  • Drug allergies

Potentially any medicinal drug, herbal or allopathic can cause drug allergies. A high index of suspicion is required to diagnose drug allergies. Consult a dermatologist if you are suspecting drug allergy.

Bottom line

A skin rash is not as simple as it looks. The conditions mentioned above are only “the tip of the iceberg”. Whenever you find any scaly, raised, itchy or non-itchy skin lesions on any part of your body, kindly consult a board certified dermatologist in Delhi. You will save a lot of time!

At Influennz, you can get the best skin care advice under the guidance of our founder and Chief dermatologist from AIIMS, Dr Geetika Srivastava. Call us on 8368778208 to book an appointment!